Dear Kutztown University

Dear Kutztown University,

Thank you. I don’t know any two other words that could really express what I’m feeling. It’s bittersweet to leave and to finally graduate. These past 5 years were the best 5 years of my life and I’m so excited to graduate, but I’m not ready to say goodbye. I know that once you are a golden bear, you are always a golden bear, but it won’t be the same next year. I won’t be able to just walk around campus and breath in all of the fresh air. Because, let me tell you, Kutztown’s air is different. When you step outside you are whacked with either the wonderful smell of manure or this uplifting smell. I’m not quite sure how to describe it but stepping into Kutztown’s fresh air I feel like there are endless amounts of possibilities. I feel like there is something to look forward to and something to smile about right in the moment. Even when it rains and on the gloomy days it feels freeing to be at KU.

Some may disagree with me because KU is so small and there is no where to go, but I didn’t go to KU for a city. I went to KU because of the foot fountain, which most people know as the Alumni Fountain. I went to KU for how open and pretty it is. I went because there’s a farmer’s market not too far from campus. I went because everyone I talked to at the campus was smiling and happy to be in the middle of nowhere. Being in the middle of nowhere is exactly where I want to be because in the middle of nowhere is Kutztown University. It’s not just Golden it’s magical. The pride I have is not just because of the gorgeous campus. It’s because of the students and faculty.

Now don’t get me wrong, I didn’t love all of my professors, but I knew if I really needed help, they would be there for me. However, I did love most of my professors. Especially, my studio professors. They get to teach you what they love to do, and they are always trying to learn with you. They get to see your effort and are always encouraging you. I mean we get to spend 3 hours together two days a week. That’s a lot of time in one classroom with one professor, so I hope they enjoy their job as much as I enjoyed learning from them. Professors at KU have always been great. It’s not just the art department that have amazing professors but trust me KU’s art department wouldn’t be as amazing as it is if it wasn’t for the professors.

My first semester at KU, I didn’t have any art classes. I was actually undeclared. I had the dreadful gen-ed classes. My least favorite subject, history, was one of the classes I took. Now, granted I didn’t get the best of grade, but I tried, and my professor tried too. She had such a passion for our class. I however dreaded history, but I found myself looking forward to seeing her and learning from her even if the information didn’t stick well with me. She even brought in her dogs as encouragement!

Another Professor I had outside of the art department that stuck out to me was for precalculus. I love math and I was actually debating between becoming a math major or an art major. However, I didn’t want to learn past precalculus, so my decision was pretty clear. I tried taking precalculus with a different professor, but I’ve learned that there is a certain way I learn math and his teaching style just didn’t connect with my learning style. So, I ended up taking precalculus with a female professor who was older and had this beautiful accent. I was pretty quiet in the class and sat in the back of the classroom, but she always smiled and always kept prompting for me to answer. She even asked me to major in mathematics. I didn’t, but I loved that class and I loved her as a professor.

There are so many other professors that made a difference in my life at KU, even if I never had them for a class. Every year professors come back and they walk into a classroom ready to teach, all having the same requirements, but most doing more then what is required of them. That’s why I’m so grateful to have been taught by them.

Apart from professors, there are other faculty members at KU that have made my time golden. For example, in all of the halls there are the maintenance crew including those that clean up after us college kids. I don’t know how they do it and I especially don’t understand how they do it with a smile on their face. Every time I talk to them it’s great! They are so up lifting and generally care about how you are doing. They will sincerely care, if you sincerely care. I wish I could have finished this semester at KU, so I give them a thank you gift for truly taking care of me and my fellow golden bears.

Of course, I don’t know where I would be without the Residence Life at KU. It has always kept me entertained. The drama and stories you get could keep me smiling for many years to come. The friendships I’ve made, I know will last a lifetime. I’m so thankful for the three years of being apart of the KU Res Life team and I wouldn’t change a second.

Past, Res Life, I was involved in other organizations. Which lead me to practically be living in the McFarland Student Union. I was lucky enough to get to know the faculty in the Office of Student Involvement and the staff working the front desk and all of the behind the scenes of keeping the MSU running so well. I loved all the hugs I got or high-fives as I popped into people’s office for advice, help, or just to say hi and see how everyone is doing. If I wasn’t able to get involved my freshman year, I don’t know if I would have stuck around at KU.

Getting involved helped me build a lot of connections. If my mom didn’t tell me to join ACE as a freshman, I would have neve met the dean of students. He has made this huge impact on my life. He has made the time to meet with me and has asked me the questions that truly make me think and ponder. When he walks into a room people instantly feel better and he doesn’t realize what he has done for KU. I think one of my favorite moments was when we were walking to Stratton and a friend of mine walked by and waved to us. As we passed, she whispered to a friend she was walking, “I love him,” and he had no idea. He definitely has a secret fan club but has no idea about it. He has this amazing family and always shares how important they are to him and it just fills my heart. We share stories and he is a huge reason as to why KU has felt like home to me.

There are all of these amazing people at KU. Starting from the Dean of Students, to Professors, Advisors, other Faculty, and of course to the students. If it wasn’t for students KU couldn’t function. There are so many students who have inspired and encouraged me. There are students who just let me rant when I need to, who come to me for advice, who may even push my buttons, and who just bring a smile to my face. I’m not going to like everyone I meet, but I am going to be thankful for every person I’ve met at KU. I love Kutztown University and I am proud to be a golden bear.

Kutztown University might not be the school for everyone. My sister never understood why I loved it so much because it’s not near many people. To me it wasn’t about what KU was near, it was about what it has. KU has not one, but two fountains, an angry chicken, the DMZ, perfect trees for hammocking, everything you need in walking distance, a perfect little town surrounding you and it has some of the best people I have every met. When I think of my golden experience, I think about the family I’ve made, the memories I have, and how good it feels to be golden.

I’m not sure these two words will ever be enough, but I’m not sure what else to say, so…

Thank you

-A Proud Golden Bear